A R T   L E T T E R

The Timely Magazine of Art

#24 <previous/ next> Artletter index March 1, 1996

Artletter is available the 1st and 15th of every month at Brazos Books,
Lawndale, Glassell, Inman Gallery, Menil Store, CAM Store, Brazil Cafe.

Letters: 1996 Houston Area Exhibition-Panel Discussion of 2/22

The most exciting and important current Houston art may appear derivative
and apathetic yet these are essential components of the postmodern
aesthetic. The so-called pathetic art movement will be regarded as the key
art style of the early 1990's. These artists show a distinct minimalistic
influence, albeit minimalism with a fin de siecle twist. Some of the most
interesting and crucial art by Houston artists has been shown in the last
few years. This is in great part due to the new generation of emerging
artists bringing a welcome relief from the stale "Fresh Paint" traditional
abstract and figurative narrative Houston art. The overrated Fresh Paint
show was deservedly panned by the national art media. It did more harm
than good for the Houston art scene which is only recently being
resurrected by the influx of the new generation of Houston artists and art
spaces.-Greg Tramel

Art Guys at Lynn Goode                                                   3/23

There is a profound sadness in the eyes of the animals who gave their lives 
to be made into trophies and then ridiculed and defiled with clown
make-up, flashing colored lights, and Groucho Marx glasses. A duck wearing
a big pink dildo on its back is one of the saddest artifacts I've seen. Yet the
sense of this show is that the viewer is supposed to snicker along with the
self congratulating art guys' clever visual puns. The superficiallly treated,
catch-all theme is of outdoorsmen lightheartedly exploiting nature, which
the guys get a big guffaw out of. I'm not sure which side they're on.-Delfina

Michael Shaughnessy at Sewall Gallery, Rice U.                    3/22

The hay alone makes the piece: it's so great it doesn't even need the
sculpture, which could be just a haystack instead of being so fussy.
Unfounded optimism is inherent in making art out of nature, which implies
that such pristine beauty could exist in the real world, somehow apart from
the ugliness of the everyday. How can one be so lyrical in 1996? But the
sculpture's optimism is contagious. Emotionally, I feel glad to be in the
presence of something so unapolegetic. It's a privilege to touch the stuff,
to bask in the wonderful, nostalgic smell. It makes you feel happy and
grateful, like farm-fresh milk with all the cream left in. -Delfina

Address letters to: Bill Davenport, 801 Tulane St., Houston TX 77007

Mail subscriptions $15/year. Look for Artletter 25 on March 15.